Parents, students march on school board over transgender policy

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — A Fannin County school board meeting Thursday night was overflowing with parents concerned over a transgender bathroom policy.

Channel 2’s Wendy Corona reported it was standing room only in the school cafeteria and overflow packed into the gym.

Hundreds of concerned parents walked in the rain to the board meeting to face what they say was a fast move by the school board.

“We're just trying to protect our kids,” parent Adam Dyer said. “They tried to slip it by us without telling us and I don't think it's right for our kids to have to go to the bathroom with the opposite sex.”

[READ: School restroom gender controversy causing uproar in Fannin County]

Superintendent of Fannin County Schools Mark Henson told Corona there was no secret meeting, as parents allege, that had the district creating a transgender policy.

“We haven't taken the signs off of our bathrooms. We still have boys and girls bathrooms. We're going to protect all of our children here in Fannin County,” Henson told Corona.

Henson said transgender is protected under the Civil Rights act of 1964 and giving up annual federal funding of roughly $3 million to avoid the issue, is not an option.

“Even if you give up your federal funding you're still breaking the law and they will fine us until we come into compliance,” Henson said.

Donna and Keith Towe say seeing their community stand together shows that they can move this country's moral compass.

“We're seeing our country go down in immorality and we want to bring it back to what's right, what's wrong, what's safe for all involved, even the gender confused. What's safe for them?” Donna Towe said.

Thursday night’s meeting lasted three hours.

Some parents threatened to take their kids out of school.

“They will never set foot in a Fannin County school again. I will stay home every day and homeschool as long as it takes, but that is my belief, and that is my motherly right, and that is where I stand,” one mother said.

A transgender former student who attended the meeting said bullying was outrageous when he was in school.

"I was beaten up by two males who said that if I wanted to look like a guy, they would treat me like a guy,” said Xavier Eaton.

Middle-schooler Taylor Gibbs said she understands both sides.

“We have no control over other people, and we shouldn't judge them or discriminate them or anything because of their differences,” Gibbs said.

The schools district's attorney set out to debunk rumors. She said allowing transgender students to pick their restroom means following the law. She pointed out everyone on the board has or has had a kid in the school system.

"Why on earth would this board ever try to impose on any of us that which they would not want for their own children?" she told the crowd.

She said the board is being proactive, but there are no policies on the table. She urged everyone to contact their lawmakers and let their voices be heard.

There are only six days left until summer break.